By now you might be aware of some messaging that’s appearing on Chipotle Mexican Grill’s carryout bags. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is:
In case you can’t quite make it out, here’s what it says:
“Okay Pigs, it’s time for us to get together and start fixing this system. We see the way that our pig friends get treated at their factory farms and it’s time we fight so all pigs can have the same rights we have! No more tight, confining pens! No more antibiotics or non-vegetarian feed!!!!!!! We can do it! Yours truly, el Pig.”
If you go to Chipotle’s website, and click the little graphic of a string at the bottom of the page, it will reveal some of its “Food With Integrity” program, which details how and where they get their meats and vegetables. Included is a scrolling picture gallery, trumpeting what their ‘naturally raised’ pigs look like. Trouble is, predictably, they don’t give you all the information.
Picture #1 (caption): “Naturally raised pigs get to hang out with other pigs and do outside pig stuff (which is fun)”
What’s missing: “…including come into contact with pathogens, parasites, predators and extreme weather variations that could make them sick or injured (which is NOT fun)”
Picture #2 (caption): “They eat all natural vegetarian food (which is delicious)”
What’s missing: “…as they do on nearly all farms, including conventional. Pigs are just like us—they eat anything. But what’s best for them is a balanced diet of corn and soybean meal. To imply they get that only at certain ‘Chipotle-approved’ farms is not accurate”
Picture #3 (caption): “They are allowed to display their natural instincts (which is good)”
What’s missing: “…including rolling over onto just born or nursing piglets (which is bad). That’s why responsible producers keep sows in gestation and farrowing stalls just before and after giving birth, in order to protect the piglets”
Picture #4 (caption): “They also get to sleep in deeply bedded pens (which are comfortable).”
What’s missing: “…of course, the deeply bedded pens are comfortable, but in winter, they don’t provide nearly as much protection and safety as a heated indoor facility. With deep bedding, the pigs will also pile on top of each other to stay warm, and that could cause injuries and suffocation”
On the bag: “No more antibiotics!”
What’s missing: “Which means all those pathogens they encounter while doing ‘outside pig stuff’ can make them sick, and if they fight each other or get attacked by a predator, their wounds will be left to heal naturally, if they heal at all!”
The Chipotle website also predictably promotes the one-sided works of Michael Pollan, and the book The Righteous Pork Chop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms. The title alone should clue you in as to how fair that book is.
Once again, a company tries to make a splash by implying you’re morally superior if you eat their food; however, we’ve seen time and again it’s just a marketing tactic. Chipotle, in providing misinformation about where the world’s safest, most affordable and most abundant food supply comes from, is no different.
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